John Butler and Missy Higgins have shared the stage many times in Australian music history, creating a specific brand of national soundtrack and cultural memories grounded in a love for this country and its people.
The Coming Home Tour is an epic homage to that 15 year history of these two incredible Australian artists.
As the sun held its final position in the sky over Bimbadgen estate Stella Donnelly and Dan Sultan opened the show. Each high note and drum kick sent subtle goose bumps across the cool breeze carrying the arrival of Missy Higgins on stage. Spotted dancing with her band and baby daughter during Dan’s set, Missy brought that light hearted fun to her entire performance.
She opened with the track that won her the Triple J Unearthed competition in 2001 “All For Believing”, as the sun began to set and we were immediately reminded of why we love her so much. Cracking jokes, telling stories, forgetting the lyrics, waving to her daughter side-stage, or starting the wrong song; Missy was relaxed and completely herself. Nothing to hide the immense talent as she worked through crowd favourites “Scar”, “Special Two”, “Futon Couch” and “Arrows”.
As the crowd waited for the arrival of JBT we were treated to an epic sunset, fittingly paying tribute to the beauty of the land we were gathered on and the meaning behind so much of Butler’s work, least of all the latest album Home. From the opening track “Wade in the Water”, John Butler simply did what he does best. Played like an absolute magician.
More than once I overheard people around me in awe of the sounds he was producing and the alchemy of his fingers moving across his guitar. Extended to a 5-piece band for this gig, the John Butler Trio were all clearly having a great time. It was as much a party on stage as it was in the crowd. From old favourite “Better Man” with a slow and sexy spin, to new tracks including “Tahitian Blue” and “We Want More”, JBT delivered the goods.
As the crowd hung on every note and dripping vocal, a surprise fireworks display over the distant adjoining golf course seemed a fitting addition to this celebration of one of Australia’s most defining musicians. Closing out with “Funky Tonight” and “Zebra”, the celebration became a collective euphoria as the crowd rose to dance and sing, free of inhibition and joyfully at Home with each other.
Photo credit: Paul Dear